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Spotlight

Seeking: Ric Gendron’s lost paintings

Curator Ben Mitchell is putting together an ambitious traveling retrospective exhibit of the works of Spokane artist Ric Gendron. Click here for a previous column detailing how this exhibit died during the MAC's financial crisis and was then miraculously revived.

Yet neither Mitchell nor Gendron can track down four powerful and uncommonly important paintings that, by any measure, should be included in the exhibit. These are part of Gendron's dark “Indian Boarding School Series,” which were a prominent part of a 2002 exhibit at Whitworth University. They were later displayed for sale at the Tinman Gallery in Spokane.

There were five paintings in the series. Gendron knows what happened to only one of them, “Inside Looking Out.” He was frustrated that it didn't sell, and he needed a new canvas, so he painted over it.

The other four? Nobody, including Gendron, has a record of where they ended up. Mitchell suspects they are hanging in homes somewhere.

I'm posting photos of the four paintings here. If anyone out there owns them and knows where they might be found, they should contact Ben Mitchell at bennett.d.mitchell@gmail.com.

These are particularly important pieces because of the Indian boarding school theme. Gendron is an enrolled member of Colville and Umatilla tribes. His mother was sent  from her home on the Colville Reservation to Indian boarding schools in DeSmet, Idaho and Chemawa, Ore.

The depth of emotion he brought to this subject is evident.

Hills alive with ‘Sound of Music Sing-a-Long’

Looking for something fun to do with the family during Christmas week? Dress 'em up in lederhosen and start rehearsing “My Favorite Things.”

The “Sound of Music Sing-a-Long” has been booked into the INB Performing Arts Center, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. This is the 1965 movie classic, shown complete with subtitles and audience participation.

Lots of audience participation. Think of it as a kind of clean-cut, well-scrubbed version of “Rocky Horror.” The audience helps sing all the songs, and also acts out  in other ways. Every audience member receives a “Bag of Musical Moments,” full of props to utilize at key moments in the film.

There's also a costume contest for the most clever and outrageous outfits.

The sing-a-long began in Manhattan in 2000 and then went on to a big Hollywood Bowl event in 2001. It has since swept the country. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30 and will go on sale Nov. 18 through all Ticketswest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

Cheyenne Jackson goes all ‘Mad Men’

Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson, product of Newport and Spokane, will get in touch with his inner Rat-Packer for a concert with the New York Pops on Thursday.

He's headlining a show called “Cheyenne Jackson's Cocktail Hour: Music of the 'Mad Men' Era.

Read all about it in this Playbill interview.

A feathered escape artist flees the Comedy Pet Theater

High drama, involving green feathers, took place at intermission on the street outside of the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater performance last week at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Michael Smith, who manages the Bing, said his first inkling came when he looked out the window of the lobby and saw an alarming sight.

“I saw the people from the show running down the street with a ladder,” said Smith.

Turns out, the show's big green parrot had flown the coop during intermission, swooped through the stage door, and winged its way across Lincoln Street. It was perched on the ledge of a fourth floor window at the Davenport Hotel.

The show's parrot wranglers set the ladder up on the sidewalk and tried to lure the parrot down. The parrot was stubborn and refused to budge.

The ladder and general hubbub attracted the attention of the Davenport's security people. They brought the frantic Popovich people into the hotel and took them up to the fourth floor room. They opened the window and talked the parrot off the ledge and into the room.

Those of us in the audience had no idea what was going on — although I wondered why intermission went on so long.

The show resumed, with the usual retinue of 12 cats, 10 dogs, three geese — and one adventuresome parrot.

‘Michael Jackson IMMORTAL’ cancels second Spokane show

The second show (Nov. 13) of “Michael Jackson: The IMMORTAL' at the Spokane Arena has been canceled because of unforeseen travel and logistical problems, according to Cirque du Soleil.

The Nov. 12 show will proceed as scheduled.

The official reason for the cancellation was given as follows: “Cirque du Soleil has cited that the time it takes to move the production into a facility, and the time it takes to move out of a facility, has conflicted with travel time between cities on the tour. These unforeseen issues are due in-part to the overall size of the production.”

Or maybe slow ticket sales? That's always a possibility whenever a show is canceled.  Ticketholders for the Nov. 13 show will be contacted by TicketsWest and offered an opportunity to exchange their tickets for the Nov. 12 show. That implies that there were plenty of seats still left.

However, the show does need to get all set up in Eugene for a Nov. 15 show. And I found that a second show in Detroit was canceled a few weeks ago for the same logistical reasons.

By the way, Nov. 13 ticketholders can get a full refund if they prefer.

Orlean, Whitehead, Lowry booked for Get Lit!

Some big literary names have been booked into Eastern Washington University's Get Lit! Festival April 11-15:

  • Susan Orlean, author of “The Orchid Thief” and the just-released “Rin Tin Tin: Life and Legend,” the biography of the famous movie dog. The latter is poised to be one of the bestselling books of the season.
  • Colson Whitehead, author of “Sag Harbor,” “The Intuitionist” and the new “Zone One,” an ironic take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel. 
  • Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate.
  • Rick Bass, author of “The Wild Marsh” and many other meditative books about the West and its natural history.
  • Lois Lowry, the Newberry Award-winning young adult author.
  • Steve Almond, author of “Candyfreak” and “God Bless America: Stories.”
  • Jess Walter, Spokane novelist and National Book Award finalist.

This impressive lineup makes the Festival Pass look like an excellent option at $45. You can get them via Ticketswest outlets beginning Nov. 4. Individual tickets won't go on sale until Jan. 2.  

Sarah Vowell coming to SCC

Sarah Vowell, the well-known author and radio voice, will speak at Spokane Community College's Presidential Speaker Series, Nov. 7, 7 p.m.

Vowell is the author of the bestselling books, “The Wordy Shipmates,”  “Assassination Vacation,' and “Unfamiliar Fishes.” She was also a regular contributor to public radio's “This American Life.”

Vowell talk will be in SCC's Lair-Student Center Auditorium, Bldg. 6, 1810 N. Greene St.

Vowell will also do a casual Q-and-A on Nov. 8, 9:30 a.m., in the Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities at SCC.

Both events are free and open to the public

A ‘Vision Quest’ benefit for Garland restaurants

The Garland Theatre, 924 W. Garland, is hosting a showing on Saturday at 10 a.m. of the 1985 coming-of-age movie “Vision Quest” as a benefit for two restaurants just down the street, Ferguson's Cafe and the Milk Bottle.

Both restaurants were badly damaged in a recent fire. The theater suggests a $5 minimum donation.

The choice of “Vision Quest” is fitting. Both restaurants served as locations for this movie. It stars Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino, but it also features two other performers who were not yet stars, Forest Whitaker and Madonna.

A far better than normal ‘Norman’

The soon-to-be-released “Norman” is a Spokane rarity – a locally filmed movie getting outstanding reviews and major film festival awards.

“Norman” is a coming-of-age story about a high school loner who pretends to be dying – although his father is actually the one with cancer. Some plot twists turn his world “upside down and then ultimately right side up.”

“Norman” will debut on screens Oct. 21 in New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and, yes, right here at the AMC River Park Square.

It took a long time for the movie itself to come of age. It was filmed in June 2008 in Spokane by North by Northwest. It was directed by Jonathan Segal and stars Dan Byrd (“Cougar Town,” “Easy A”), Emily VanCamp(“Everwood,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Richard Jenkins (“Eat Pray Love”) and Adam Goldberg (“Entourage”). It features a soundtrack by Andrew Bird.

The Hollywood Reporter said this, “‘Norman’ has some big things going for it, not least of which is the stupendous central performance, one of the most intelligent and deeply felt big-screen portrayals of a troubled teen in the last several years.”

Variety called it “poignant and understated.” It has picked up awards at the San Diego Film Festival, the Rhode Island Film International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival.

It has now been chosen for the AMC Independent series, which brings indy films to AMC screens. You’ll see the roaring Spokane Falls and you’ll see some familiar local talent in this film too, including Bobbi Kotula, Jerry Sciarrio and Kevin Partridge.

Bing Film Series begins with ‘Some Like It Hot’

The fall film series at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague, has been set:

  • Sept. 27, “Some Like It Hot,” the great 1959 Billy Wilder classic with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.
  • Oct. 11, “Giant,” the 1956 James Dean-Elizabeth Taylor epic.
  • Oct. 25, “Charade,” the ultimate '60s caper thriller, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
  • Oct. 29, the Halloween Show featuring “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (the 1949 version narrated by Bing Crosby), “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy” and the 1978 Jamie Lee Curtis screamfest, “Halloween.”

All shows are at 7 p.m. except the Halloween Show, which starts at 6 p.m.

This beautifully restored 1915 movie house is a great place to see these classic films. The series is also a great bargain. It's free.

However, a $5 donation is suggested, with proceeds going to the Advocates for the Bing Crosby Theater, which has been instrumental in supporting this great old theater.

Meryl Streep’s son to open at Bing, Panida

Henry Wolfe, an LA singer-songwriter, has been added as the opening act for April Smith & The Great Picture Show at the Panida Theatre in Sandpoint on Oct. 6 and at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane on Oct. 7.

Wolfe has a well-received album of originals, “Linda Vista,” out right now and he has been making a splash in LA.

He also happens to be the son of Meryl Streep, which he ruefully admits can be a little “overshadowing.”

Tickets for both shows are on sale through TicketsWest.

A comedy deal: ‘Spamalot,’ ‘Caveman,’ ‘Blues’

WestCoast Entertainment has three comic extravaganzas coming to town, and they're offering deals if you order tickets to more than one.

Order two and save 10 percent on your ticket order. Order all three and get 20 percent off.

The shows are all at the INB Performing Arts Center:

  • “Defending the Caveman,” the one-man comedy show about the war between the sexes, Oct. 8, 8 p.m..
  • “Monty Python's Spamalot,” the fractured King Arthur musical, Nov. 11, 8 p.m.
  • “The Blues Brothers Revue,” Nov. 13. 6:30 p.m.

To order, visit this TicketsWest link. Then enter the promo code, WCECOMEDY. The deadline is Oct. 7 at midnight.

Michael Jackson “Immortal” seats released

New seats have been released for “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” at the Spokane Arena on Nov. 12, 8 p.m. and Nov. 13, 4 p.m.

These are apparently tickets that have been held back up until now. This is a Cirque du Soleil tribute to Jackson and his “creative world.”

Tickets are $50, $80, $125, $175 and $250 through TicketsWest outlets. 

Nobelist Maathai cancels GU talk

The Oct. 6 lecture at Gonzaga University by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Muta Maathai has been canceled because of travel complications from Kenya.

Refunds for tickets purchased at the McCarthey Athletic Center Box Office will be available there, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or at the Spokane Arena Box Office. Refunds for tickets purchased via TicketsWest outlet locations will be available at the Spokane Arena Box Office Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets purchased online and by phone will be refunded automatically by TicketsWest. An announcement will follow if the event is rescheduled.

Gendron painting giant MAC mural

Artist Ric Gendron will soon begin work on the final touch to the new American Indian Activity Center at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC): a 200-square-foot wraparound mural.

Gendron, a member of the Colville and Umatilla tribes, has been commissioned to create a narrative-style mural which will cover three of the new center’s wall spaces, floor to ceiling.

Gendron begins work on Friday and should be finished by mid-October. Visitors can watch him work during regular museum hours, but please don’t distract him. He has a lot of painting to do.

The American Indian Activity Center is on the museum’s second level and it will host lectures, storytelling and art experiences centered on Plateau cultural traditions.

‘River Sorrow’ to open at Magic Lantern under new name

“The River Murders” opens Friday at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main Ave., but you may remember it under a different name: “The River Sorrow.”

This Ray Liotta-Christian Slater-Ving Rhames thriller was filmed as “The River Sorrow” in Spokane last fall. It still carried its old title at the Cannes Film Festival in May when it had its premiere and gala party. Yet sometime between then and now, it had a title makeover.

The director, Rich Cowan (“The Basket”) of Spokane’s North by Northwest production company, said that Sony now owns the movie and they changed the name for marketing reasons. They didn’t consult with Cowan, who is still partial to the original name.

The movie will play for a week at the Magic Lantern, but it won’t have a wide theatrical release.

In fact, the DVD release is scheduled for Tuesday. It features a number of local actors – Wes Deitrick, Nike Imoru, Kelly Eviston and Patrick Treadway, to name just a few.

A Nobel Prize winner, speaking at Gonzaga

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Muta Maathai of Kenya, founder of the Green Belt Movement, author and advocate for African democracy, will be the speaker at Gonzaga University’s Presidential Speaker Series event on Oct. 6, 6 p.m., at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Her presentation will include a screening of the award-winning documentary, “Taking Root,” which chronicles her work in pan-African forest conservation.

Tickets are $10 for the public, $7 for seniors and $5 for students and employees of any educational institution. Tickets can be purchased at www.gonzaga.edu/wangari or through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT or www.ticketswest.com).

By the way, this means that Gonzaga University this school year will be hosting a Nobel Peace Prize winner and two Pulitzer Prize winners (both for fiction).  We previously noted that Jennifer Egan, author of 2011 Pulitzer winner “A Visit from the Goon Squad” will speak on Jan. 31 and Junot Diaz, 2008 Pulitzer winner for “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” will speak on Feb. 22 as part of Gonzaga University’s Visiting Writers Series. Those two events will be free.

Grieg and me: Symphony’s guest artist

I just finished interviewing and writing a story for Thursday's paper about Jon Kimura Parker, who will play the Grieg Piano Concerto at the Spokane Symphony's opening concert on Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and info go here.

He's a great speaker, with a fine way of explaining what he loves about the music. Here's a video that shows off his talents, buth musical and verbal.

Symphony will Kick Back with new concerts

The Spokane Symphony has announced a new concert concept: Kick Back Classics.

These are concerts away from the usual concert hall and without a conductor.

Annie Matlow of the symphony said the musicians “will be ‘kicking back,’ and playing without a conductor – much like a chamber group but with symphonic proportions.”

The Kick Back Classics lineup:

Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Spokane Falls Community College Music Building, 3410 W. Fort George Wright Drive. This concert will help show off the newly renovated music building.

 Oct. 6, 7 p.m. at Turning Point Church, 11911 N. Division St.

The symphony will play “crowd favorites” by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Britten and Ravel.

And here’s the best thing about the Kick Back Classics: Tickets will be only $5 each – much cheaper than a regular classics concert.

Tickets go on sale Thursday at (509) 624-1200, or online at www.spokanesymphony.org, or at the Fox box office, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.

ArtFest will stay put next year

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture's  annual ArtFest event will stay put in Browne’s Addition in 2012.

Museum officials had pondered moving the art, food and music festival from Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition to the larger Riverfront Park downtown.

The Browne’s Addition Neighborhood Council viewed the prospect with alarm and called a meeting Wednesday night to voice concerns.

Forrest Rodgers, the MAC’s new executive director, talked to neighborhood representatives and said Thursday that ArtFest will remain at Coeur d’Alene Park next year.

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